What is Drug and Alcohol Rehab Like?


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Substance abuse disorders can take over your life, leading to serious repercussions. Your physical health can suffer as you increase your risk of heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. The cost of drugs and alcohol, as well as their potential negative impact on work performance, can lead to financial problems. Family and romantic relationships can experience strain from the behavioral and mood changes that can occur when you are under the influence. Seeking addiction treatment is important for getting your life back; getting help is the only path to an overall happy and healthy life. Recovery is a big step, so you may have some questions such as “what is a typical day like in rehab?” before getting started. The answers might help relieve some anticipatory anxiety around taking the necessary steps to improve your life.

What Is Addiction Rehab?

Asking for help can be hard, but rehab is not as scary as you might think. It is a safe place where you can remove yourself from the temptation to use alcohol or drugs and surround yourself with others who might share similar experiences to your own. In rehab, you rid yourself of harmful substances via a detox program, but that is only the beginning. The next step is to address the psychological aspects of your drug or alcohol addiction through intensive individual and group therapies so you can learn new coping mechanisms and develop a healthy lifestyle. Taking the leap into substance abuse treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself to change your life for the better.

What Is Rehab Like?

Your journey will most likely begin in a detox facility, where doctors and medications can help you go through withdrawal safely and as comfortably as possible. From there, you transition to a residential rehab center, where you will receive treatment for between 28 and 90 days. These centers are typically set up in a calming environment. They allow patients to step away from the chaos of everyday life and join other recovering addicts in a home-like living facility with plenty of outdoor space for mindfulness and physical activity.

What Happens in Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Some treatment centers will separate drug rehab from alcohol rehab but in many cases, they are combined, especially because alcohol and drug addiction are often co-occurring. Much of the rehab process focuses on helping you develop healthy habits related to nutrition, physical activity, productive forms of emotional expression such as art or dance, and coping skills. You will also address any underlying comorbid conditions such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders so that you can learn skills to manage them and begin finding appropriate medications if needed. Because treatment centers emphasize addressing your holistic health rather than discussing the use of specific substances, they frequently combine drug and alcohol rehab to address everyone’s holistic needs.

What Do I Do in Rehab?

Rehab provides structure to help you normalize your lifestyle. You will attend group therapy sessions with different focuses and work with an individual therapist to develop a realistic, personalized plan for managing your specific circumstances. Group therapy sessions typically focus on psychotherapy, skill-building and interpersonal support. Psychotherapy focuses on educating clients on substance abuse disorders and helping them understand their condition. Skill-building mostly occurs in individual sessions, but some groups also focus on coping skills. Interpersonal support groups are the most common and focus on creating a safe community in which you can share your story, as well as examining how your past relationships may have influenced your disorder. The goal of rehab is to help you work towards a healthy, balanced lifestyle that you will find meaningful and pleasurable. Seeking treatment is the best way to move away from personal, professional, and health-related problems and begin moving towards your goals.

What Is a Day Like in Rehab?

Rehab centers want to help you take control of your life and learn to live in a normalized way. Structure is essential both to help you re-familiarize yourself with daily routines and to prevent boredom and temptation to think about substances. The structure can be strict, but clients tend to find it helpful and comforting.

Generally, there is a set wake-up time in the early morning for you to get ready and ground yourself. This time may include mindfulness activities such as yoga, journaling or meditation to help you go into the day with a positive mindset. You will then eat breakfast in a group, allowing you to socialize with others and form connections. Connecting with others with similar experiences to your own is one of the most important parts of treatment because it allows you to feel more supported and lend support to others. Feeling isolated or alone can be a major trigger for substance use, so rehab centers encourage social connection as much as possible.

After breakfast, you will attend group therapy so that you can develop coping skills and further your sense of community with others. You will go to lunch after one or two sessions, depending on the length of the groups and the structure of the program. Treatment centers fill the afternoons with a variety of activities. You may go to another traditional group session, but you may also go to a more focused group based around targeted skills such as stress and anger management or grief. Treatment centers also frequently offer expressive, athletic, spiritual, mindfulness-focused or equine groups to incorporate fun, personal activities into therapy. These groups often help patients engage more in treatment, especially as they first adjust.

You will also attend an individual therapy session in the afternoon. In these sessions, you will be able to share anything you might not have the chance to share in a group and focus on topics relating specifically to you. Your therapist will help you look at your situation and the triggers that may be present in your outside life so you can come up with strategies to cope with these situations. Therapists frequently use cognitive behavioral therapy to help you understand the relationship between your thoughts, resulting in emotions and reactionary behaviors. Breaking down how you react to situations and why you react in that manner is essential to developing more adaptive habits. By taking the time to invest in yourself through a recovery-focused treatment program, you can change your perception of what you need to manage stress and discover the benefits of adaptive coping.

You will also have a few hours of free time during the day, which you can use for recreational sports, homework, journaling, meditation, or another relaxing activity. In the evening, you will attend dinner followed by a meeting or 12-step program session.

Drug and alcohol abuse can feel like the only way to handle the stressors that come up in everyday life, but this does not have to be the case. Rehab provides a safe and soothing environment where you can explore and manage the underlying causes of your addiction, including trauma, abuse, comorbid psychological disorders, and excessive stress. You will receive the structure and support that you need to create a healthy, normalized lifestyle with adaptive coping mechanisms that reduce the temptation to resort to alcohol or drug abuse. Overcoming addiction is hard, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you are struggling with a substance use disorder, take the first step towards hope and a new chapter in your life by enrolling in a rehab program today.

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